Getting Started

Its about now that I start yearning for something to do in the garden. The once most welcomed respite from the hard work has begun to wear thin. My fingers itch to feel the soft, friable soil as I restart the vegetable beds. I miss the green smell of spring and chatter of the returning birds. But its still very much the cold days of winter. So what is a die hard gardener to do?

For starters, a calender of the new year is purchased. One of those simple, no frills kinds with big, blank squares for each day. Referring to the calender from last year, I start filling in those white spaces with the necessary and routine garden tasks for each month. Pretty soon, it is marked up with chores galore. From starting seeds, planting, staking and mulching to weeding, pruning and deadheading, everything gets put down. By giving each aspect of gardening due time and consideration I’ve ensured that I’m starting off organized and prepared. A visual heads up of what needs doing prevents clashes with duties from other realms of life. Most of all, in step with the sugar maples, it gets the gardening sap flowing through my veins. I start actively dreaming and planning. My growing season has begun. I have stuff to do.

Next, I commence the forcing of the bulbs kept chilled since late October. Hyacinths, muscari, crocuses and miniature tulips have been occupying prime real estate in the refrigerator. Each week, for the rest of winter, I start some of these bulbs in pots and glass forcing vases. As the bulbs stir from their hibernation and push up shoots and eventually their jewel hued flowers, the days are no longer bleak and barren. The garden indoors has banished all that. I’m in good company till the garden outside is back in business. Joy.

Tell me, how do you handle the need to get through winter quickly?

P.S. While we’re talking calenders and marking down important stuff, here is something for you to put down in yours: May 25 is my garden’s 2013 Open Day through the Garden Conservancy. That is the Saturday of Memorial weekend. From 10 am to 4 pm. Put it down in bold! Rocky Hills will also be open on that day. Make a day of it. I’ll be arranging with local restaurants and businesses for special deals. Stay tuned!

Amaryllis tall and proud

Amaryllis tall and proud

Hyacinth in glass forcer

Hyacinth in glass forcer

More hyacinths

More hyacinths

Hyacinths and muscari

Hyacinths and muscari

Early spring tulips

Early spring tulips

Visitors at my first Open Day. 2008

Visitors at my first Open Day. 2008

Murali and me at the end of that first Open Day. Tired but so happy.

Murali and me at the end of that first Open Day. Tired but so happy.

 

(c) Shobha Vanchiswar 2013

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2 thoughts on “Getting Started

  1. Sometimes a trip to the New York Botanical Garden can give a needed respite from winter. Find a bench somewhere in the Enid Haupt (sp?) conservatory and breathe the warm, damp, green air.

  2. Wow! Those bulbs look beautiful! It’s like a lovely florists shoppe.
    I’ve found a new way to shorten up the winter, your blog 🙂

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